CHURCH BLOG

Our Church Blog is here to help you deepen your relationship

with the Lord through resources that speak to everyday issues of life.

 
 
 

Blessed Bread

Today’s Scripture & Insight: Matthew 26:26-29
 

When our oldest child became a teenager, my wife and I gave her a journal that we’d been writing in since her birth. We’d recorded her likes and dislikes, quirks and memorable one-liners. At some point the entries became more like letters, describing what we see in her and how we see God at work in her. When we gave it to her on her thirteenth birthday, she was mesmerized. She’d been given the gift of knowing a crucial part of the origins of her identity.

In blessing something as common as bread, Jesus was revealing its identity. What it—along with all creation—was made to reflect: God’s glory. I believe Jesus was also pointing to the future of the material world. All creation will one day be filled with the glory of God. So in blessing bread (Matthew 26:26), Jesus was pointing to the originand the destiny of creation (Romans 8:21–22).

Maybe the “beginning” of your story feels messed up. Maybe you don’t think there’s much of a future. But there’s a bigger story. It’s a story of a God who made you on purpose and for a purpose, who took pleasure in you. It’s a story of God who came to rescue you (Matthew 26:28); a God who put His Spirit in you to renew you and recover your identity. It’s a story of a God who wants to bless you.

Reflect & Pray

How does seeing your true origin story as being made on purpose and for a purpose change the way you see yourself? What’s the bigger story than simply your situation right now?

Dear Jesus, I place my life like bread in Your hands. Only You can return me to my origin. Only You can carry me to my destiny. Jesus, You are the author and the finisher of my faith


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Reunion

Today’s Scripture & Insight: Revelation 21:1–7
 
The little boy excitedly ripped open a big box from his serviceman daddy, whom he believed wouldn’t be home to celebrate his birthday. Inside that box was yet another giftwrapped box, and inside that box was another that simply held a piece of paper saying, “Surprise!” Confused, the boy looked up—just as his dad entered the room. Tearfully the son leapt into his father’s arms, exclaiming, “Daddy, I missed you” and “I love you!”
 
That tearful yet joyful reunion captures the heart of Revelation 21’s description of the glorious moment when God’s children see their loving Father face to face—in the fully renewed and restored creation. There, “[God] will wipe every tear from [our] eyes.” No longer will we experience pain or sorrow, because we’ll be with our heavenly Father. As the “loud voice” in Revelation 21 declares, “Look! God’s dwelling place is now among the people, and he will dwell with them” (vv. 3–4).
 
There’s a tender love and joy that followers of Jesus already enjoy with God, as 1 Peter 1:8 describes: “Though you have not seen him, you love him; and even though you do not see him now, you believe in him and are filled with an inexpressible and glorious joy.” Yet imagine our incredible, overflowing joy when we see the one we’ve loved and longed for welcoming us into His open arms!
By: Alyson Kieda
 
Reflect & Pray
What do you most look forward to about life in God’s presence in the restored creation? How do you experience glimpses of that joy now?
Loving God, we anticipate with joy the day when we will be with You. Until then, help us to happily serve You as we wait.

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Amazing Skill

Today’s Scripture & Insight: Psalm 139:7–16
 
The leader of our college singing group directed the group and accompanied us on the piano at the same time, skillfully balancing those responsibilities. At the close of one concert, he looked particularly weary, so I asked him if he was okay. He responded, “I’ve never had to do that before.” Then he explained. “The piano was so out of tune that I had to play the whole concert in two different keys—my left hand playing in one key and my right hand in another!” I was blown away by the startling skill he displayed, and I was amazed at the One who creates humans to be capable of such things.
 
King David expressed an even greater sense of wonder when he wrote, “Thank you for making me so wonderfully complex! Your workmanship is marvelous—how well I know it” (Psalm 139:14 nlt). Whether in people’s abilities or nature’s marvels, the wonders of creation point us to the majesty of our Creator.
 
One day, when we’re in God’s presence, people from every generation will worship Him with the words, “You are worthy, our Lord and God, to receive glory and honor and power, for you created all things, and by your will they were created and have their being” (Revelation 4:11). The amazing skills God gives us and the great beauty God has created are ample reason to worship Him.
By: Bill Crowder
 
Reflect & Pray
What parts of God’s creation cause you to respond in worship? Why is it important for you to thank and praise God for the skills He’s given you?
How wonderful You are, God! I see Your fingerprints everywhere. Thank You for all that You’ve made.

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Watched by God

Today’s Scripture & Insight: Psalm 121:5–8
 
Our little grandson waved goodbye, then turned back with a question. “Grandma, why do you stand on the porch and watch until we leave?” I smiled at him, finding his question “cute” because he’s so young. Seeing his concern, however, I tried to give a good answer. “Well, it’s a courtesy,” I told him. “If you’re my guest, watching until you leave shows I care.” He weighed my answer, but still looked perplexed. So, I told him the simple truth. “I watch,” I said, “because I love you. When I see your car drive away, I know you’re safely heading home.” He smiled, giving me a tender hug. Finally, he understood.
 
His childlike understanding reminded me what all of us should remember—that our heavenly Father is constantly watching over each of us, His precious children. As Psalm 121 says, “The Lord watches over you—the Lord is your shade at your right hand” (v. 5).
 
What assurance for Israel’s pilgrims as they climbed dangerous roads to Jerusalem to worship. “The sun will not harm you by day, nor the moon at night. The Lord keeps you from all harm—he will watch over your life” (vv. 6–7). Likewise, as we each climb our life’s road, sometimes facing spiritual threat or harm, “The Lord will watch over [our] coming and going.” Why? His love. When? “Now and forevermore” (v. 8).
By: Patricia Raybon
 
Reflect & Pray
What “mountain” are you climbing today? What assurance do you find in knowing God is watching over you?
Our loving Father, as we travel the road of life, thank You for watching over us, keeping us safe.

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A Call to Leave

Today’s Scripture & Insight: Matthew 4:18–22
 
As a young woman, I imagined myself married to my high school sweetheart—until we broke up. My future yawned emptily before me and I struggled with what to do with my life. At last I sensed God leading me to serve Him by serving others and enrolled in seminary. Then the reality crashed through that I’d be moving away from my roots, friends, and family. In order to respond to God’s call, I had to leave.
 
Jesus was walking beside the Sea of Galilee when He saw Peter and his brother Andrew casting nets into the sea, fishing for a living. He invited them to “Come, follow me . . . and I will send you out to fish for people” (Matthew 4:19). Then Jesus saw two other fishermen, James and his brother John, and offered them a similar invitation (v. 21).
 
When these disciples came to Jesus, they also left something. Peter and Andrew “left their nets” (v. 20). James and John “left the boat and their father and followed him” (v. 22). Luke puts it this way: “So they pulled their boats up on shore, left everything and followed him” (Luke 5:11).
 
Every call to Jesus also includes a call from something else. Net. Boat. Father. Friends. Home. God calls all of us to a relationship with Himself. Then He calls each of us to serve.
By: Elisa Morgan
 
Reflect & Pray
How could God’s call to follow Him also call you from something else? In what ways can you trust Him with what you may be leaving?
Loving God, help me understand what I might need to leave in order to respond to Your call.

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Liberated by Jesus

Today’s Scripture & Insight: Mark 5:1–20
 
“I lived with my mother so long that she moved out!” Those were the words of KC, whose life before sobriety and surrender to Jesus was not pretty. He candidly admits supporting his drug habit by stealing—even from loved ones. That life is behind him now and he rehearses this by noting the years, months, and days he’s been clean. When KC and I regularly sit down to study God’s Word together, l’m looking at a changed man.
 
Mark 5:15 speaks of a former demon-possessed individual who had also been changed. Prior to his healing, helpless, hopeless, homeless, and desperate are words that fit the man (vv. 3–5). But all of that changed after Jesus liberated him (v. 13). But, as with KC, his life before Jesus was far from normal. His internal turmoil that he expressed externally is not unlike what people experience today. Some hurting people dwell in abandoned buildings, vehicles, or other places; some live in their own homes but are emotionally alone. Invisible chains shackle hearts and minds to the point that they distance themselves from others.
 
In Jesus, we have the One who can be trusted with our pain and the shame of the past and present. And, as with Legion and KC, He waits with open arms of mercy for all who run to Him today (v. 19).
By: Arthur Jackson
 
Reflect & Pray
How has Jesus changed you? Who do you know that needs to hear about it?
God, I’m so grateful that, through Jesus, things that controlled me in the past can indeed remain in the past.
 

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